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Thread: Is it natural for humans to kill one another?

  1. #1 Is it natural for humans to kill one another? 
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    I'm having fun debating with religious people, and many of them talk so much about love, they don't hate me but love me, etc. But is it natural for humans to love each other? (Who are not your family, friends, etc.) I mean, a lot of animals kill their own species, don't they? And didn't people hunt other human tribes back in the early days of man? What I'm trying to ask is, it's not natural for humans to be ever so friendly inclined to every new person / stranger they might meet on their way, as many religious people would like you to believe. Right? Or am I wrong?

    Sry for poor english


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    It is natural to be distrusting of strangers. Killing is also natural, but much less common than simply avoiding or distrusting a stranger. Humans are territorial and will kill others from attempting to intrude on anothers territory for resources.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    It is natural to be distrusting of strangers. Killing is also natural, but much less common than simply avoiding or distrusting a stranger. Humans are territorial and will kill others from attempting to intrude on anothers territory for resources.
    Okay, so there isn't any special love bond between humans. It's not because we ought to "love our neighbour"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Okay, so there isn't any special love bond between humans. It's not because we ought to "love our neighbour"?
    I would say that there is a natural bond between humans, but remember the MonkeySphere or Dunbar Number.
    It's more difficult to extend that bond past 150 people or so, even if we can generally care about humanity as a whole, since the brain treats humanity as a whole as one individual.
    So, the capacity is certainly there and natural to care about and protect one another.

    The brain will treat individuals within its dunbar number as individuals and anything beyond that, no matter how many individuals make it up- simply as +1 (or your dunbar number plus one more). That means that the general populace would not be seen for its individual attributes, but as a general thing.

    So, I disagree. I think we do have a natural capacity toward caring about eachother just as much as we do to distrust others.
    It's not just humans- look into the "Battle of Kroeger" on Youtube. Or the leopard that "adopted" a baboon cub from the mother the leopard had killed unaware it was carrying a child.
    The leopard had no idea what to do when it found the baby baboon so did the only thing it could- Took care of it.
    Sad Spoiler below- don't read if easily moved:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Sadly, the baby baboon was too young to be separated from its mother for warmth and nursing and it died shortly after the leopard took it upon itself to try to care for it. Most references on the net do not reveal this detail.

    Empathy can help aid in survival and survival is one of our strongest traits.
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  6. #5  
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    If we start killing each other then we all face a life of extreme fear and distrust with everyone we meet. I do not think that is a natural way to live and try to help others not hurt them. There are , of course, people who enjoy killing anything including humans but they are the exception not the rule generally speaking.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
    Jimi Hendrix
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Okay, so there isn't any special love bond between humans. It's not because we ought to "love our neighbour"?
    There's a lot of "ought to"s claimed for us.
    And the vast majority of those tend be "justified" by "because I think you should".
    In some cases "I think you should" turns into a collective "We think you should".
    It still doesn't make it any closer to being factually correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    I'm having fun debating with religious people, and many of them talk so much about love, they don't hate me but love me, etc. But is it natural for humans to love each other? (Who are not your family, friends, etc.) I mean, a lot of animals kill their own species, don't they? And didn't people hunt other human tribes back in the early days of man? What I'm trying to ask is, it's not natural for humans to be ever so friendly inclined to every new person / stranger they might meet on their way, as many religious people would like you to believe. Right? Or am I wrong?

    Sry for poor english
    I think you are right, because humans have been killing one another for a very long time, and our cousins the chimps have wars as well. I find it unusual for an atheist to be using this as an argument against religious people though. More often, I have seen atheists claim that we instinctively follow the golden rule, so that's why we don't need religion to keep us in line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I find it unusual for an atheist to be using this as an argument against religious people though. More often, I have seen atheists claim that we instinctively follow the golden rule, so that's why we don't need religion to keep us in line.
    I had the exact same reaction.
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    The word 'natural' in this context is likely to be misleading. The reason being that human behavior, including killing others, is strongly modified by learning.

    Yes, our species has been killing others of our species since long before we became Homo sapiens. But no, it is not inevitable and that trend can be removed from society through proper learning.

    Professor Steven Pinker has written a book showing how human violence has been reducing over time. As we get more 'civilised', we get less violent. The following video is worth watching to gain an understanding of how the human tendency to violence has been changed by the development of what we call civilisation.
    Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence - YouTube
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    And didn't people hunt other human tribes back in the early days of man? What I'm trying to ask is, it's not natural for humans to be ever so friendly inclined to every new person / stranger they might meet on their way, as many religious people would like you to believe. Right? Or am I wrong?
    I find it unusual for an atheist to be using this as an argument against religious people though. More often, I have seen atheists claim that we instinctively follow the golden rule, so that's why we don't need religion to keep us in line.
    Easily explained.
    Let's use a modified version of Orson Scott Card's Hierarchy of Foreignness but "pull it closer", and start at the beginnings of society:
    There's one's family - expecting altruism seems pretty obvious here - it's your genes you're looking after, your family.
    The tribe would be Utlanning (sort of - the actual translation "outlander" doesn't cut it)- shared culture, shared mores, shared experiences.
    Framling would be anyone from the next village. Or as Card says - from another world or culture. This is a person who is both substantially similar to and significantly different from ourselves.
    Then there's Ramen and Varelse - strangers from another "species" (Ramen - ones we can communicate with, and Varelse - ones we can't). The difference between the two is "not in the creature judged, but in the creature judging. When we declare an alien species to be ramen [as opposed to varelse] 1, it does not mean that they have passed a threshold of moral maturity. It means that we have".
    These two would be people from significantly further away, including from other countries (varelse).

    As we grew in size of societies we'd learn that people of our "tribe" were closer than we'd thought - shifting them into the "family" category and that those in the next village would move up to utlanning status.
    The more we progress as human beings the more we realise that other people are like us (this, for example, moving people from foreign countries [varelse] into the ramen category).
    The world gets smaller and our "social groups" (or at least those we accept as being peers as people) becomes larger and more encompassing.
    The less you know, or identify, with someone the easier it is to treat them as less than "human" (because they're not like us).
    The more we realise people ARE people, regardless of origin/ customs/ whatever the easier it is to accord them the same status we would accord ourselves.

    IOW we do follow the golden rule - it's just our perception of who we regard as "other people".
    If they were "sufficiently foreign" they were also "less human", and thus weren't included in the golden rule.

    Religion may have had a hand in forcing the acceptance of "foreigners" as fellow humans (but looking at some passages in "holy books" it's doubtful 2), but the acceptance is by no means exclusively due to religion.

    1 Demosthenes, Letter to the Framlings, Speaker for the Dead.
    2 How many times did "god" tell various tribes (from various religions) to kill everyone who didn't accept him? Don't believe in MY god? Then you're not really a person and I can kill you without guilt...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Religion may have had a hand in forcing the acceptance of "foreigners" as fellow humans (but looking at some passages in "holy books" it's doubtful 2), but the acceptance is by no means exclusively due to religion.
    The modern Christian Movement tends to cherry pick- it doesn't quite follow the bible, actually... and almost excludes the Old Testament entirely unless it's convenient to use.
    So, in this sense, modern Christianity is a large force for pushing the "love" concept even if it's not really backed by scripture. Most haven't read the bible cover to cover and examined it and simply believe that God is Love because ministers say so.
    On the other hand, some religions adhere more closely with scripture and we see the other side, where shunning others not like is acceptable.
    And in the Muslim faith, the Koran actually teaches to respect and treat infidels fairly, yet there are some Muslims that choose to interpret a very few lines to mean that the infidels are beneath you and some even go so far as to claim it means they are worthy of death.

    I think personal desire promotes the ideology more than the scripture actually does for many people. They believe that their concept of God is correct because he's most what they want or expect him to be, and they ignore anything that contradicts that.
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    Agreed. There's a lot of, cough, interpretation going on.
    Christians split into "love everyone" and, for example, "homosexuals aren't really human so we don't have to love them", Muslims, like you said, fair treatment or death...

    But I think the world getting "smaller", easier/ cheaper travel, TV, internet etc, is (gradually) bringing us closer and making us realise that, yeah, he speaks a different language but he's a human being with all that that entails. One day we may even actually reach the stage where we can apply Card's definition the way he used them in his books.
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    As for killing other humans? There's also the habits and instincts of our survival. With infants and small children so very helpless for such a long time we've succeeded by developing habits of both nurture and protectiveness. It's all too easy for the protective approach to be exaggerated so that we see enemies where there are none really.

    And if we're used to cooperation and mutual support, it's all too easy to allow others too much latitude and get done over in the process. Just ask indigenous Australians and Americans whether they think their forebears were right to just treat the newcomers as 'ordinary' other people or did those who fought them on sight have a better approach to what was going on?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    I'm having fun debating with religious people, and many of them talk so much about love, they don't hate me but love me, etc. But is it natural for humans to love each other? (Who are not your family, friends, etc.) I mean, a lot of animals kill their own species, don't they? And didn't people hunt other human tribes back in the early days of man? What I'm trying to ask is, it's not natural for humans to be ever so friendly inclined to every new person / stranger they might meet on their way, as many religious people would like you to believe. Right? Or am I wrong?

    Sry for poor english
    Define "love". If love is defined as an observable or measurable behavior, then yes, humans can certainly love each other this way. However, I warn you, that there are many definitions of love. Why limit love to only something that one can see, measure, or count?

    Just because it's natural to kill each other does not necessarily mean that people should kill each other. I think that is the naturalistic fallacy. Some people may hug close to religion, because they may feel that religion teaches them a proper, subjective, and meaningful way to live and how to treat others. For example, the religious notion that people should show agapic love may sound counter-intuitive, because it goes against what people are evolved to do: protect their own offspring for best survival AKA kin selection.
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    Religion "keeps people in line"....(?). Damn straight, it does! Terrorism, for example, based on religious beliefs: drives adherents to kill others having non-similar religious beliefs. Following which, those terrorized, failing to accept their own "superior" religious principles of acceptance and understanding, actively seek out the terrorism-inclined, with intent to kill them.

    Historically, this sort of activity seems to have been prevalent when linked to religion.

    Just a thought for today! jocular
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    How does empathy help us survive? Before it evolved, how was it benificial to evolve it? I guess it would be helpful for a species to evolve it, but how did it extend between species?
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    imo empathy is a side effect of the social interactions within tribal groups - if i can understand how X thinks, what makes him tick, then that could be advantageous to me and help my ranking in the group / tribe
    from having a theory of the mind it's only a small step to empathising with the minds you're trying to understand
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  19. #18 Hating strangers is not that natural. (Pt1) 
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    --First of all...I personally think that "natural" is a very complicated and unfitting word for a species like humans because it is natural for us to expand what is natural for us. What is natural is just the expansion of a basic set of attitudes and behavior.--

    Is it natural for us to have laws?
    It is natural to pray?
    Is it natural for us to have bondage sex?
    I guess not. But some day people started to do that stuff. Everything is a, lets say developed version of basic instincts and behaviors.
    I think its the same with killing.
    It is natural to show aggression towards hostile individuals. (all animals with a ability to fight do that)
    It is also natural do defend whats yours and to take what is not yours. (most animals i.e. insects like ants do that)
    It is also natural to care for your tribe-members. (this is a little bit more exclusive...but is still done by . ants)
    It is also natural to fight with your tribe members about certain things. (only "higher" animals do that...but maybe because only higher animals form tribes.)
    Apes have been also observed to show altruistic behavior toward other apes which have been strangers for them. (but this is not usual)
    But nevertheless it would be right to say...even brotherly love (Nächstenliebe) is kind of natural.
    In the end it all depends on the situation.

    The first findings of man vs. man violence is from the time where complex tools and special materials became more important. I guess this is because the "defend whats yours" instinct became more important because there finally was more things that could be "yours" and these things where harder to replace. The concept of war (which is usually a form of robbing) have risen with the concept of property. If you spend time with digging, smelting, forging and finally got a bronze axe...you fight harder for it than for a stone fixed in a few hours.
    So strangers became more dangerous. The more work you put in something the harder you fight for it. So...usually (at least in the animal kingdom) the attacker tends to give up earlier than the defender.
    The importance of property is also supported by newer experiments. They show that it is much easier to get help from poor people than from rich people. Poor people still give a higher percentage of their fortune away for charity. It is also interesting that hospitality is normally higher in poor and/or very hostile areas...like deserts. Try to jump on a strangers car in Africa and in Germany or try to ring on a house and ask if you could stay for a few nights. I guess houses with cameras, alarm systems and private security are not the best places to ask for a favor.
    But in the end there are many factors that influence such things. I think for example in war zones or areas with a lot of criminality the hospitality declines no matter how poor they are.

    One of the biggest factors for killing each other is intelligence.
    Every murder and every war-plan is based on abstract thinking and a cost-benefit analyses like "IF I get rid of my brother I could inherit all the money" or "IF I kill that tribe it will not try to come back and other tribes fear me so much they won't even try to invade." A dog on the other hand that lives with another dog may think "IF I get him away from that bone I can eat it" so he will attack the other dog if he sees him with a bone, but he don't thinks "IF I kill him I get double the bones and nobody ever dare to steal my bone again...and if my Herrchen don't see the murder he may think it was a straying dog...so if I do it in the garden during work time I wont even get in trouble." so there is no motivation for him to attack the other dog if it don't have a bone at the moment.
    I assume the possibility of killing a man with a single strike (i.e. spear or catapult) instead of a probably painful man to man combat increased the brutality of battles. Most of the time it was countries with superior technology that liked attacking others.
    Growing intelligence also added revenge. Seems like the animal that speak so much of "forgiveness" have the biggest problems with it. I think that has something to do with the possibility to waste time on such things like revenge while others need to search for food. On the other hand...even dogs keep in mind witch other dog bits him and we all know the stories about unforgiving elephants. So...I guess even that is a bit natural but intelligence helps us to track down the subjects or fight them even if they are well guarded or stronger than us.
    But in the end forgiving is more effective. Societies with a strict focus on violent revenge as well as those who prefer to protect themselves from strangers are not the most successful.
    What IS natural is to fight those who steal or question the existing hierarchy.
    Presenting his throat to the Alpha male is for example the way new wolves successfully join a pack. On the other hand...NOT doing that is the best way to get torn apart by a wolfpack. Presenting presents to the chief (or his wife) is a good way not to get asskicked by a group of humans. Take German tourists for example. I guess they are very strange to most people but they are welcomed because they bring the gift of being good customers. Other people (even from allied neighbor countries ) who are suspected to not bring any money are usually not so openly welcomed. So the strangeness is not the most important factor here.


    So...both...being helpful and being egoistic is natural, every human being have the potential of behaving in both ways.
    But I believe (and conclude) the "love-apporach" is a little bit stronger.
    I would say "natural" for humans is the direction in which the human development points.
    If I'am not totally wrong our world is (despite of all the horrible stuff thats going on) still more peacefull as the antique or the middle ages. The murder rate dropped since it have been recorded and peace is seen as a very positive thing unlike most of the time. Keeping peace during his reign was nothing a pharaoh, a roman emperor or a Deutscher Kaiser would have bragged about. I doubt that there have been giant Peace-Demos in the time of Dschingis Khan if HE attacked a country. Or just compare the number of people that have been killed by middle age popes and the last pope. In MY discussion with religious people I love mention that example, if they claim that christianity is less christian today than in the dark ages. The development towards peaceableness can take place very fast (of course with step backs). Chruschtschow for example said that the best thing he achieved in his reign was that his successor would't have to kill him or anybody else to become the head of the UDSSR.
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    Hating other is not natural (Pt2)


    I guess the question is: IS being a stranger seen as a good reason to kill/fight someone?

    On the one hand YES....
    Of course strange things are more likely to be seen as thread.
    That would also explain why people knowing each other better resulted in a more peaceable world.
    Today every human is seen as a full human being. Unlike the times when european pictured africans as half-apes or people with minor intelligence.
    Another example would foreigners-hater in Germany. They normally come from areas with very few foreigners. As I went to school it was possible to tell by the behavior towards foreigners if someone came from villages or even classes with or without foreigners. The worst foreigner haters normally came from villages without Dönerbuden...if you know what I mean.

    But on the other hand NO...
    because if it was natural to kill strangers, that would mean, there would be more violence between people who don't know each other than between people who know each other very well. That would mean...if i.e. all Palestines and Israelis would suffer from a special kind of amnesia that keeps them from remembering each other there would be MORE violence than today. I seriously doubt that. Even if the Jews have been much stranger for the Palestinians as the first settlements have been built the hostility between them is MUCH bigger know. Even the bible takes much more time to pick on other more or less jewish tribes or cities than on strange civilizations like the babylonians or egyptians.
    The biggest thread are the people that live closest to us. Even today most murders happen inside families. Tribes usually spend much more time fighting close related tribes than complete strangers as seen on the balkan. They have vendettas with people that most others can not even tell apart from them. I also doubt that the violent history of France vs. Germany can be explained by stating that these nations have been soooo strange for each other.
    And not to forget football derby's. There is MUCH more hate in a Bayern vs. 60er game than in a Bayern vs. Hamburg game...even if the Hamburger are seen as much stranger.
    Knowing someone very well gives us more reasons to hate him!
    Or take the indios. They ruthlessly fought each other but welcomed the strange looking spains. Or even the Nazis (not known to be very open for strange stuff)...they tried to kill a minority that have lived in Germany for over 800 years. But it was OK for them to praise tibetans as originators of the aryan race, settle in far away russia or allie with the japanese. And I guess even foreigner-haters don't have the biggest problems with the strangeness of people. I guess they have a problem with strange things overpower the things they know.
    And we should not underestimate the ability of people to get used to strange things. This is (if we insist on using that phrase) natural as well. If we look at the stone ages we see north-german tribes with clam jewelry from the mediterranean sea. Today it is believed that a giant network of traders of material, luxury-stuff existed even in the earliest stages of human civilization. How strange must this traders have appeared for a tribe. But if they would have been killed or attacked every time they came close to a new settlement, their would have not been such a network. Even totally strange species like Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens had sexual intercourse and I guess some kind of peaceful exchange. And...due to the benefits of mixing very different genes...it is also natural to feel attracted to strangers. Many man love exotic woman, others drive to the strangest places to find a latin or african lover. Strange accents are often seen as sexy as well.
    In rome exotic slaves had higher prices and romans with blond (colored) hair was seen as very sexy. And not to forget the sad side...even if they regarded them as minor people almost all slave-keepers had sexual intercourse with their slaves. And even in the time of biggest racism..it was seen as a a great thing for a black guy to sleep with a white woman. I don't think racism is natural. Our lust tells us much more about what is natural as cultural borders or ideologies.
    And of course history shows that forming bigger and bigger alliances is normal for humans. We grew from little family units, to city-states, to kingdoms, to mulitcultural empires, to nations where being a part of it dont depends on which race you have.

    It is natural to be suspicious as well as curious about a stranger. That is as well the normal reaction of most animals.
    What determines what happens next depends on if the stranger is seen as threat or as useful or neutral.
    But in conclusion I believe turning strangers into allies is a way bigger part of human nature than the opposite.
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  21. #20  
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    Yes, it is natural, Evert hing what ever happens in Universe is natural and unchangeable as it follows
    nature 's law. Every thing need a sound and unavoidable reason for happening.

    All dictators who are responsible for killing of millions of people were made by nature.

    No free thinking exists and we follow commands of our brain which itself is codded by nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJ_K View Post
    No free thinking exists
    Evidence?
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    Yes there should not be any doubt . All know everything has reasons & that reasons are created by nature . How can u change those reasons, Nature is cause & we are effect nt vice verca.
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    It's okay to make the claim, but unless you can show that it is in fact true then it remains just that: a claim.
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    A lot of what humans have accomplished today is the result of humans killing one another. Sadly, I think it is natural (but not to be celebrated).
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    Being natural does not mean inevitable.

    Humans have been moving slowly, over the past few thousand years, from a 'natural' way of life to one that is less and less so. This includes social changes. If killing is natural, then we are also moving from that 'more natural' behaviour to one that is 'less natural'.

    For example : in Medieval England, the murder rate was 100 killings per 100,000 people per year. In modern England, it is 1.
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    @skeptic, it does not mean if today homicide rate is less or more and it is also not means if murder stops than it is unnatural.
    Actually mean is that what happened is natural, murder rate increase or decrease all are effects of nature.
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    A change in murder rate is an indication of the fact that humans learn. I am sure there are a lot of people willing to commit murder who do not. The reason they do not, is that they know they would get caught and punished. This is a function of our modern society, with its laws, police, judiciary, and penal systems. Such systems explain why crime is a lot less than it was 1,000 years ago.

    The point is that whether killing is 'natural' or 'unnatural' really does not matter all that much for our species. Humans learn new behaviors and that learning is a more potent determinant of behavior.
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    assuming that you can say that one thing, like killing your fellow humans is "natural" (or un-natural) for all humans flies in the face of known data.

    our army discovered that "naturally" only about 10% of their soldiers would actually shoot at the enemy in any given firefight
    so
    only about 10% are natural born killers
    further study revealed that another percentage killed better with simple weapons training (including using targets made in the shape of a man)
    and a larger percentage with indoctrination
    (part of indoctrination had to do with finding a name that dehumanized the eneny du jour, words like "kraut, chink, slope, gook", etc...)
    another part had/has to do with breaking down the civilian ties------I suspect that this is a good part of why veterans have a much higher suicide rate than the population at large
    ..........................
    (but, then again, i could be wrong)
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    our army discovered that "naturally" only about 10% of their soldiers would actually shoot at the enemy in any given firefight
    The figure was actually 15-20% and that came from SLA Marshall.
    Unfortunately it's not true.
    Marshall not only did not conduct the interviews that he claimed gave him that data, his notes (and discussions) prior to publication of that "fact" show absolutely nothing that would support his contention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Unfortunately it's not true.
    Actually it is. The one study you refer to was not the only study. There have been others which confirmed the results.
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    Rather than further derail the thread could you PM me some links please?
    This is a subject close to my particular interests.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Rather than further derail the thread could you PM me some links please?
    This is a subject close to my particular interests.
    Ohhh... I don't know.. maybe the O.P. can chime in as I wouldn't mind hearing more...
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    Is it natural for humans to kill one another?
    Yes, but it's unnatural to fondle them first.
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    Is it natural for humans to kill one another?
    What is 'natural' is for humans to want to survive, and to want their family and their 'ideas' to survive.

    It therefore becomes 'natural' to kill anyone who threatens your survival, or the survival of your family or ideas.

    Ideally the idea of killing someone would only enter our heads if we were actually physically threatened, but in reality the idea of killing someone also enters our heads when we 'think' we are threatened, or when we see potential rather than real threats.
    Last edited by Tamorpgh; March 3rd, 2013 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Incorrect formatting
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamorpgh View Post
    Is it natural for humans to kill one another?
    What is 'natural' is for humans to want to survive, and to want their family and their 'ideas' to survive.

    It therefore becomes 'natural' to kill anyone who threatens your survival, or the survival of your family or ideas.

    Ideally the idea of killing someone would only enter our heads if we were actually physically threatened, but in reality the idea of killing someone also enters our heads when we 'think' we are threatened, or when we see potential rather than real threats.
    Is murder for fun natural though? I think it's weird that we have instincts both for empathy and enjoying violence. I guess which one a person prefers depends on their life.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    I'm having fun debating with religious people, and many of them talk so much about love, they don't hate me but love me, etc. But is it natural for humans to love each other? (Who are not your family, friends, etc.) I mean, a lot of animals kill their own species, don't they? And didn't people hunt other human tribes back in the early days of man? What I'm trying to ask is, it's not natural for humans to be ever so friendly inclined to every new person / stranger they might meet on their way, as many religious people would like you to believe. Right? Or am I wrong?

    Sry for poor english
    I think you are right, because humans have been killing one another for a very long time, and our cousins the chimps have wars as well. I find it unusual for an atheist to be using this as an argument against religious people though. More often, I have seen atheists claim that we instinctively follow the golden rule, so that's why we don't need religion to keep us in line.
    I have avoided this thread for some reason. I don't know why. Maybe I had other things on my mind and feared I would reveal too much about myself. Who knows?
    And I do apologize for not reading all the posts before jumping in. Retaining thoughts is sometimes difficult for me if I don't just get it out when I am thinking it.

    Anyway, as far as golden rule is concerned. I vaguely grasp what Dywyddyr is saying but considering I have a "special" psychological schema, I don't see it as following a golden rule or a matter of seeing people as human and therefore worthy of living.

    In my case, I don't consider humans inherently entitled to life. I don't perceive rights, I don't perceive morality, or even ethics. In my case, I get through life by observing cause and effect. Living in a world dominated by a species that does subscribe to the notion of morality, ethics, and rights, my survival depends on my ability to appear in to be in agreement with the majority. Because undoubtedly, the notion of the right to live, quickly gets changed to a privilege if a majority of the members of this species decides that you are not in agreement with their terms of existence. Meaning, if I do not appear to conform, they will likely kill me.

    It is very much like the doctor in the film "Gorillas in the Mist". She survived among the troop of wild gorillas because she had studied the from a distance long enough to understand their social rules. When she approached them, she approached them in a manner that they found acceptable. She did not violate their social rules of etiquette. And so they allowed her to live and even considered her part of their troop. If at any point she broke their rules, death would soon be her fate.

    This is true in the human species as well. We may not offer up death as an all encompassing solution because we have the resources to restrict physical freedom. Caging someone we dislike gives us a longer lasting vengeance reward than killing them does. You can only kill someone once, but you can keep them caged for a long time, even let the go only to cage them again. And being caged is a much worse experience than death.

    So basically, golden rule is simply to follow the rules that society has put into place so that they do not decide you can no longer live or be free.

    After all, the only reason any of us are still alive right now, is because time hasn't caught up to us, and we have not sufficiently inspired anyone to kill us just yet.

    It isn't just those who follow the majority rule we have to be aware of and avoid invoking the wrath of. We also have to avoid inspiring those who do not follow majority rule. some people follow more primal instincts. Instincts we all have but if we follow majority rule, we suppress those instincts. But when we meet someone who exhibits signs of following primal instincts we remember the instincts we have and we behave in a way that will not inspire that individual to kill us. Or we avoid areas where large numbers of primal people congregate. So we avoid crime ridden areas.

    I live somewhere between the primal and "civilized". I can adapt to either quite easily because I don't believe in a golden rule. I believe and practice, behaving in a manner that will not inspire those around me to kill me. And it works.

    If I found myself in a society where the rule was to kill or be killed. You can bet I would probably feel more at home there than many of you would. And I would likely live longer than those of you who feel killing is morally wrong.

    The only reason I have never killed a human being, is because my own survival depends on it.

    (maybe this is why Neverfly doesn't sleep well at night..... hmmm)
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    I personally think that most humans killing other humans is due to gross overpopulation of our habitats. We are a pack animal (and a very social one at that, as much as the wolf/dog), but we are not biologically designed for these ant hills we call big cities (which have their practical and cultural reasons, obviously). Living so many specimens on such little territory at once stresses the piss out of us, and as a direct response, we easily risk flying off at nothing and committing unforgivable acts.

    When I was circa 14 my school class, in order to teach us something about responsibility, bought a small hamster cage and two hamsters, which we were to tend to between classes (bloody progressive education ...). The mistake was to buy a male and a female, because hamsters are very much like humans: They f***. It's their breeding instinct as well as ours. And of course hamsters' breeding rate is designed to counter that a certain portion of the offspring will be taken by predators, diseases and the like. Again, kinda like humans. A tiny problem here is that humans have more or less eliminated such threats culturally, and now we are suddenly these 7+ billion instead of the perhaps 5 million worldwide all through the stone age. We have of course done this because that is our survival instinct, we want to survive ourselves, and we want our children to survive, but the success of that leads to overpopulation which in turn stresses us out.
    And all this I saw illustrated in these cute little hamsters in our class, now living in a protected environment, suddenly exploding in numbers. And the stress of a quickly overflowing cage manifested itself: For no apparent reason (other than stress of overcrowding), they attacked each other, bit eacher other, even raped each other. Again, these fluffy, cute little hamsters. I saw female hamsters making raping motions on top of specimens their own direct offspring. I was 14 and my thought immediately went to humans (and does today, what with current events in India, the densest populated nation in the world).
    Even with a second cage and new hamsters bought to counter inbreeding, there was no solution to the problem, the cute little critters just became more and more, and their stress reaction ran rampant. One day, we came to school and the cages were just gone. And as I recall, us kids didn't even ask why.

    And I don't see that outcome as a viable solution to human overpopulation at all. Hitler tried something like that, Pol Pot tried something like that, Rwanda and Yugoslavia went mad in something like that, and those type of "solutions" are all grossly unacceptable. Even the Chinese one child experiment has severe shortcomings, and I have some empathy for that approach. Basically, I don't see any solution to this, even though I think it's the biggest problem we have. We are drowning in our own succes.

    Anyway, I think my point is that yes, it is natural for humans to kill each other. As an unfortunate stress reaction.
    Last edited by CEngelbrecht; March 12th, 2013 at 02:38 PM. Reason: Spelling, grammar
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    [Deleted post, twin]
    "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. (History) shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources."
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    Over population is going to be the biggest problem of humans, I think. We'll have plenty of space for a while, but food/other resources will be a huge problem. Plagues will become more likely, too. I think many countries will become balanced due to deaths in the next couple centuries, including developed countries. We'll never run out of space, but living quality will become horrible.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Once more we get to the total bullsh!t myth about overpopulation. Deep sigh!

    No, we are not facing any kind of population explosion. That was in the past. Over the last 50 years, global average for human fertility has dropped from 5.5 offspring per couple to 2.4 now, which is only just above replacement value. it is still dropping and the United Nations predicts it will be 2.0 by 2050, which is well below replacement value. By the year 2100, it is probable that the world population will be falling.

    There is no evidence that homicides are driven by population density. The most murderous population ever studied was the Yanomomo tribe in the Amazon, and their reason for killing was the opposite. Killings were done in order to win extra females, and hence make more offspring. Men who had killed received a special status, and the anthropologist studying them found that those men, on average, had more wives and more offspring. The rate of murder was so high that up to 40% of the male population of a tribe would die at the hands of another male. Yanomami - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    "over population" is taking care of itself
    population growth has been slowing all over the planet, and is estimated to top out well under 10 billion, (maybe 8 or 9)

    that being said:
    Some people's wiring is dangerously peculiar in that inflicting pain on others excites the pleasure centers of their brains, and some are prone to flying into a rage with little provocation.

    If you think you can lump all humans into one catagory then you are creating a scenario wherein you will be wrong is suppositions concerning "all human beings"

    No matter what psychological pigeon hole you try and create, some of us will just not fit into your classificatory schema.

    My guess is that 90+% of killers are mentally ill, and the rest fall into moments of opportunity, or panic situations.
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    A lot of kids like horror films. Not that they would kill anyone, but it shows that a lot of people like violence.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    A lot of kids like horror films. Not that they would kill anyone, but it shows that a lot of people like violence.
    Actually, a thing like horror films is more about exploring our natural fear of predators. Jason and Freddy etc. is like the unstoppable lion or shark or something.
    "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. (History) shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEngelbrecht View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    A lot of kids like horror films. Not that they would kill anyone, but it shows that a lot of people like violence.
    Actually, a thing like horror films is more about exploring our natural fear of predators. Jason and Freddy etc. is like the unstoppable lion or shark or something.
    but movies like "SAW" seem to explore our own ability to be the predator
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CEngelbrecht View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    A lot of kids like horror films. Not that they would kill anyone, but it shows that a lot of people like violence.
    Actually, a thing like horror films is more about exploring our natural fear of predators. Jason and Freddy etc. is like the unstoppable lion or shark or something.
    but movies like "SAW" seem to explore our own ability to be the predator
    Yeah, but I personally don't like the Saw series because of it, or the "Wrong Turn" series, either. The predator should perish at the end, like in The Terminator or Jaws, to use those examples (I kinda see that as the human story since the stone age, the weak ape overcoming). I also don't like that psychos (aka. "stressed hamsters") can actually use those kind of movies as validation or something, but maybe I'm becoming a traditionalist.
    This is venturing into the Arts section, but ...
    "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. (History) shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources."
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    Interestingly enough, the same hormone that is associated with emotional bonds/love (oxytocin, which is found in other mammals as well) is also associated with hating those outside of your group. Love and hate are both "natural" behaviours - love because we are social creatures and need to create bonds with other members of our group, and hate because we need to defend ourselves from others and compete with others.

    What is different with humans is that some of us extend our social group very far - for some of us, it can encompass the whole world. This probably has a lot to do with our advanced communication abilities.

    Love is also a natural consequence of the ability to feel empathy.

    What is natural is not always right, though, and you shouldn't make moral decisions based on what is and is not found in nature.
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